Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life"

There is a first-rate article in Oprah Magazine (yes, I'm an official member of the cult) this month by Julie Morgenstern excerpting her new book When Organizing Isn't Enough. I would link to the article but it hasn't been loaded onto the magazine web site.

Julie says, "Let's say you want to make a major change...but you're stalled. Here's the things: You can't be a new you without to some extent dismantling the old you."

I like my present "you." I don't want to transform my "you" as much as I want to transform my "life." This article spoke to me because the inertia of making an almost 180-degree turn in my life (paring it down, living alone again without my children, moving across the world, beginning new work in a new culture) can be overwhelming. I can see how people stall and don't go anywhere! It's a lot easier to stay put and not do the work or feel the feelings of loss. Because there are always feelings of loss.

She says:

I devised a four-step system to help people manage their own transitions with grace. I call it SHED, and though the process isn't always pleasant or easy, without it life gets stalled. Clinging to the old, the irrelevant, the stagnant holds you back. It can confine you to a space that no longer fits, denying you the opportunity to be your truest, best self. By releasing your attachment to obsolete items in your space and schedule, you gain the energy and clarity to make changes in your life, find your passion, or deal with the transition of divorce, an empty nest, or retirement. SHED is a transformative process for letting go of things that represent the past so you can grow and move forward. The SHED steps are:

Separate the treasures - Identify and unearth the items and obligations that energize you and have value for the next chapter of your life.

Heave the trash
- Let go of any activity or object that depletes you; the result is a significant opening of time and energy.

Embrace your identity - never mind your stuff. This is your new opportunity to reconnect to your most authentic self.

Drive yourself forward - Begin to fill your space and schedule with activities, experiences, and items related to your future goals.

This blog is a big part of "embracing my identity so I can drive myself forward" to "separate my treasures and heave my trash." Frankly, shedding an old skin can be exhausting. But I find that change is ten times more exhilarating when I make it happen rather than let it happen to me.

What helped you make the transition from full nest to empty nest or from one country to another?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the heads up re: Oprah! Been looking for articles about the book.

Karen said...

Thanks for visiting and I invite you to come back.

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